Basseterre, St. Kitts (May 13, 2007)
Local and regional stakeholders as well as participants who attended the inaugural Caribbean Conference of the International Council for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance (ICHPER-SD) walked away with renewed commitment and new techniques to promote healthy lifestyles and development through sport.
Discussions with delegates and organisers reflect the consensus that the May 11 and 12 conference was a tremendous success as highlighted by the organisation’s regional general secretary Mark Mungal.
“Essentially the conference was planned around a theme that focused on “Creating a New Vision for ICHPER-SD in the Caribbean,” he explained, describing the event as “tremendous.” Mungal stressed that the delegates eagerly participated in the interactive sessions asking difficult questions and challenging the facilitators in a constructive manner. “All in all it was good for the movement generally,” he added.ICHPER-SD President Dr. Dong Ja Yang was so impressed with the organization of the conference that he noted that he would strongly consider having the Federation serve as a venue for the World Congress.
Director of International Programmes for the Commonwealth Games Association of Canada Katherine Hare, who attended the conference, explained that her organization was keen to participate in such a forum.
“It’s been a great two days. It was a great opportunity to meet a lot of new people that I haven’t met before,” said Hare. “It has been a great opportunity for people of the Caribbean to come together to network; to address some of the issues in physical education and sport that (the) region is (facing).”
The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) was represented at the two-day meeting by Caribbean Coordinator Mark McElligott, who also serves as the assistant manager of international relations. He expressed pleasure with the networking opportunities and noted the assistance provided to various sporting organizations while encouraging others to take advantage of new initiatives such as the development grant project offered by the ASC.
ICHPERD·SD is the largest, membership-based international and umbrella organization that includes professors, teachers, researchers, coaches, educators and administrators in the fields of HPERSD and related areas. It extends to educational or research institutions and departments, colleges and universities, governmental and non-governmental national and international organizations.
Presently the Caribbean is included in the North American District of ICHPER-SD. Efforts are being made to change this and independently establish the region as the eighth district.